Several weeks ago, I got the dreaded jury duty summons in the mail. At first, I couldn't believe I had gotten one again so soon. Then I realized that it has been 5 years and 2 months since I last served on a jury. And, according to the letter than came with the summons, you aren't excused from duty unless it has been less than twelve months since you last served. So, apparently 5 years isn't so soon after all.
Now, I enjoy my right to vote. And as a consequence of enjoying that right, I recognize my responsibility to serve on a jury when called to do so. That's not to say I'm jumping for joy today when I called to see if I need to report to court in the morning (I do). On the contrary, I believe I had a full blown panic attack after hanging up the phone. Pacing, hyperventilating, elevated heart rate, overwhelming feeling of dread, feeling of being trapped. . . yeah, I think that qualifies as a panic attack.
You see, I have to go into the city, downtown, to that court. The last time I served, it was at the little county seat courthouse just twelve miles away. Twelve mostly country miles, on two-lane quiet roads, and there was ample (and free) parking around the courthouse.
Tomorrow I have to report to the bigger court, in the much bigger city that is a 30 minute expressway-at- rush-hour drive. And when I get off the expressway, I have to navigate busy two and three lane one-way streets in a city I am not familiar with. I have to locate parking--apparently it is two blocks to the nearest parking garage--and I have to make sure I have funds to cover said parking. Then I have to walk from the parking garage to the courthouse building, figure out which door to enter, and find the proper room to report to. Oh, and be there on time.
I hate cities. I am not comfortable driving in them. I am not comfortable walking down the street in them. I don't relish being in places I'm unfamiliar with. I'm shy; I'm not comfortable around people I do not know. I do not want to go there. I do not, I do not. I wish there were a way to get my name changed from that roster at the downtown court and put onto the county courthouse roster for the same day. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
So, sucking it up, and praying for peace of mind and no more panic attacks, I prepare to do my civic duty and show up for jury duty in the morning.